Friday, March 7, 2008

WDW Marathon

Okay, okay, so I haven't been focused on keeping my resolution to write more. But all of that changes, starting today! I have a couple of stories to back-blog first, beginning with my experience of running the Walt Disney World Marathon for the 4th time in 25 years (and the first time in approximately 10 years!)

I knew this was going to be a challenging run from the start. First, I had that nagging ankle pain that appeared from nowhere during an 18 mile run two weeks prior to the marathon.  

Then, I noticed the bottom of my precious Nikes were worn all the way down (with less than a week until the race) and not one shoe or sporting goods store in all of central Florida had another pair in a size 6. Thank God for Internet shopping,, and Federal Express! I received my shoes with one day to go, and believe me, running a marathon is not the best way to break in new shoes.

Then, the expo... Word of advice: do NOT, under any circumstances, go to a marathon expo when you need to be somewhere else in two hours.  I had the bright idea of going on the second day (of three)  at 3:00 p.m. (leaving work a bit early), to avoid the crowds. Ha! It seemed like everyone running the darn race had the same idea. After parking about 2 miles away, walking to the expo center (at the Wide World of Sports Complex), and wasting precious minutes trying to navigate my way around people and exhibit booths to find the packet pick up area, I was already an hour into it. Then, got my packet and wouldn't you know it, they had me listed to start in Coral H! No way was I gonna start with the walkers - I just completed the OUC 1/2 Marathon in 2:10:27 and wanted to start with the 4:30 pace group. Well, a little note about trying to get your starting position changed for the WDW Marathon - you must prove your time in a previous race. So, there I am, at Runner Relations, on my Blackberry, trying to download race results from the OUC 1/2, and of course, I'm losing even more time and the connection is not working properly and then some little note about a missing Java application appears, and I am ready to cry. The woman helping me suggested I go back downstairs, wait on line for a computer and then print the results and best of all, that was free! Oh joy -- like I needed to hear that. I guess my look of despair and hopelessness got to her, because she just slapped a Coral C sticker on my bib and told me to have a good run. Then, after all that racing around, I was ready to meet my family for dinner (just in time, too) and the mother calls to inform me that she would not be meeting us for dinner because of some tiff with my sister. So, in all, it was pretty comical - I wound up driving to the parents house and going for sushi with the mother (the sushi was pretty darn good, too!).

Saturday night - tried to sleep, but was worried that the brother would forget his word of waking me up at 4:15 am. As is always the case with me the night before a race, I got very little sleep. Kept waking up every hour and checking the clock. Finally, at about 4:10, I just got up and got dressed. The brother appeared at 4:20 - true to his word - to wake me, only to find I was all ready to go. Made the drive to Epcot and found that even though I arrived early, they were not letting anyone park in the Epcot lot and redirecting traffic to the Magic Kingdom. No way was I gonna park there and then deal with the crowds of the monorail (and I was thinking after the race, not before). So, being my ever so clever self, I drove to the BoardWalk, showed my employee ID, and parked there. Took the bus to the start. It was the first thing that went right.

What can I say about the actual race? Well, I started with the 4:30 pace group, but didn't end with them. I actually got ahead of them and ran the first half in pretty good time (I think it was about 2:15). But, as I slowly grew to remember, the Disney course is just very BORING. Sure, you run through the parks, but that is only a few miles in total. Getting to each park is just so boring and even though they try, they cannot make it exciting. So, by mile 18, I was pretty much bored, hurting, and falling behind. I finished the race in 5:05:09 - not bad for my first marathon in years, but certainly not where I would have liked to be (after giving up on the 4:30 time, I was hoping for a sub 5:00). What does this tell me? Well, I have to really start ramping up the training if I want to run L.A. in under 5 hours. But first, need to get back to Burbank and pick up my training for the Tour de Palm Springs.


Anonymous said...

How would you rate the WDW marathon vs. the LA Marathon? I just finished the LA Maratohn and will be looking for other ones to do.



JillyG said...

Hi Eric - Congrats on your LA Marathon finish! That was such a tough run.

I did prefer LA route to WDW. But then again, I've run WDW several times and this was my first LA Marathon. My favorite marathon is still New York. I highly recommend NY - it is phenomenal.